Message from KCR
Message from KCR, The much-awaited first expansion of Telangana cabinet took place without any major surprises. The discontent is evident but it is...
The much-awaited first expansion of Telangana cabinet took place without any major surprises. The discontent is evident but it is confined to individuals who failed to find place. Political management much before the cabinet expansion has toned down the discontent. This expansion is significant as it leaves no further space to accommodate unless someone is dropped.
Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has sent a clear political message through this exercise. Disgruntled leaders may raise many questions. But, the cabinet expansion is a political exercise. It has its limitations and complexities. The Chief Minister has to balance between castes, districts, constitutionally mandated number, seniors, new entrants into the party and organisational imperatives. An individual aspirant looks at his or her own eligibility criteria. But, the team leader is compelled to balance between many factors.
The critics find fault with KCR for inducting recent defectors like Tummala Nageswara Rao and Talasani Srinivas Yadav into the cabinet. But, the critics have to understand the fact that these leaders have not joined TRS out of charity. They also need to understand that party president KCR has not inducted them into TRS without any purpose. For that matter many of the ministers inducted in the first instance itself are also defectors from other parties to TRS at different points of time. Of course, there is a difference. Tummala and Talasani defected after the elections. But, the critics within the party, especially the supporters of disgruntled leaders are not questioning the politics of encouraging or accepting defections. Once defections are acceptable, their induction into the cabinet cannot be objected. One cannot have a pick-and-choose approach here. The culture of political defections and rewarding defectors has not begun with KCR and they would not be confined to TRS. But, inducting Tummala and Talasani and giving priority to them, KCR has sent a clear message that those who join the party will not be discriminated. This gesture will help in attracting more leaders from other parties.
All this has grand political plan apart from the political message. Talasani’s induction into the cabinet would help TRS to consolidate in Hyderabad where civic polls are round the corner. Similarly, Khammam was always a hard nut to crack for TRS given its geography and politics. Now, Tummala would be given the charge of strengthening the party in this key district which is relatively less influenced by the Telangana movement itself. Indrakaran Reddy proved his political mettle in Adilabad district many a time. All these three districts are weak for TRS. The Telugu Desam Party is relatively strong here. The selection of these leaders is motivated by the prevailing political situation in those districts, the merits of these leaders and the relative hold of the ruling party. While rewarding those who recently joined the party, KCR took care in respecting the sentiment of party loyalists. Induction of Laxma Reddy is one such example. Denial of berth for Konda Surekha is also a pointer to the fact that KCR cannot ignore the party loyalists. She faced a stiff opposition from the local leaders who are party’s long-time loyalists.
However, there is scope for political management. KCR has already indicated that nominated posts would be filled soon. This would assuage the hurt feelings of some more leaders. It would also help KCR to further balance caste and district factors. For instance, as many as two leaders competed for the tribal quota in the cabinet. But, KCR could accommodate one. The other leader is offered the post of Parliamentary secretary. However, it is not possible to accommodate Konda Surekha as she cannot be given anything better than minister or anything lesser than minister will not be acceptable to her. Koppula Eshwar has to contend with chief whip post.
None cannot rule out another exercise in future. One also cannot rule out dropping of a few ministers in the wake of any future exercise. Politics are not static. The political situation would define the future course of action. But, at least for now, KCR completed the exercise without any major hurdles. Induction of six ministers would fill many gaps in the government too. Many key portfolios were handled ineffectively. One minister handled more than one portfolio. Experience was lacking.
This expansion is expected to address many such limitations. Given the invincible position of KCR within the party and the government, the cabinet expansion is unlikely to create any serious trouble for KCR except some initial rumblings.
By: Prof K Nageshwar